I never wanted to write a post about anyone being killed in action, much less about someone I really cared for. Four years ago today, Captain Brandon Cyr was killed when his MC-12 crashed in Afghanistan. He was the first one that has been a friend of mine. Many have been friends of Ryan’s, or another connection, but never a friend of mine. The truth is, until Brandon passed away, I had never known exactly what it felt like to have someone you love give the ultimate sacrifice.
I met Brandon at one of Ryan’s best friend’s wedding, where Ryan was a groomsman and Brandon was in the saber arch. We were newly engaged, and I knew virtually no one at the wedding, which could have meant a lot of sitting alone while Ryan did groomsman duties. Brandon, though, made sure that I didn’t feel left out and kept me company throughout. That’s exactly who Brandon was. He looked out for everyone, whether he knew them or not. It’s part of why he loved his job– he got to look out for an entire country from the seat of an airplane. I’ll never forget how he introduced himself. He asked me to guess how to pronounce his last name and I just laughed at him. He said “Okay, I’ll give you a hint. It’s the same as a training we all have to do in Washington.” *thinking…thinking…thinking…* “SERE!”
Brandon and I kept in touch via IM on Facebook. He always had a way to make me laugh, no matter what else was going on. When I was sick one time and Brandon was deployed, we had a half hour discussion about how there’s a proper order to showering (you should NEVER use conditioner after your body wash, otherwise it defeats the purpose of bathing entirely) and he even found a comic strip that agreed with us, just to make me smile when I was having a really tough day. Of course, this is one of about a thousand times he took the time to make someone– anyone– smile. Brandon was one of the most genuine, sweet, intelligent men I’ve ever met, and I’m proud to have been called his friend. He was an amazing pilot, and even better man.
On Memorial Day and his birthday, the boys and I visited Arlington National Cemetery to lay flowers on his grave and spend some time with him. We want our boys to grow up knowing that the sacrifice that our men and women in the military make is real and it’s huge. They’ll grow up knowing the names of our friends who have made the ultimate sacrifice, while appreciating the incredible honor it is to have so many “aunts” and “uncles” who are willing to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. These men and women have changed my life forever, and I’m so unbelievably thankful to Brandon Cyr and all of our other military family for showing us what true love really is.
So, a toast… to my friend, Capt. Brandon Cyr.
We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies, and were gently caught by God’s own hands to be with him on high.
To dwell among the soaring clouds they’ve known so well before, from victory roll to tail chase at heavens very door.
And as we fly among them there we’re sure to hear their plea, “Take care my friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me.